We all waited for it. It was coming. The inevitable collapse after building up a 24-point lead was coming. We've seen it time and time again this season.
Only it didn't come.
The Mavs did make their run though. Benefiting from getting the Jazz in the penalty with just a little under nine minutes to go in the game, Dallas had phase one of a comeback bid complete. Dallas is the best free-throw shooting team in the league at 80%. But they couldn't overcome the Jazz lead. The closest they got was 13 minutes after Jason Kidd hit a layup with about 4:30 minutes to go in the game. The Jazz have certainly given up bigger leads with less time, but not tonight.
On the next play, Deron found Millsap for a jumper and that was the ball game. The Mavs went cold from the floor as the Jazz turned them into jump shooters for the rest of the game. In fact, despite the Jazz being in the penalty for almost nine minutes, the Jazz only fouled three times the rest of the game and one of those was from Deron Williams late to get out of the game.
So no Dirk comeback as we saw in November. The Jazz bent but did no break and came up with a convincing 111-93 road win against the team with the second-best record in the west. And a win on the road on the second of a back to back no less. Amazing.
Which begs the question, what is going on? Is it too much to ask to get a consistent team? This is what everyone expects to see every game. Good movement, good passing, low turnovers, etc. I realize there are going to be off nights but you never know what you're going to get with this team.
Just some amazing team stats tonight. 4, count them, 4 turnovers. That's it. Pair what with 28 assists and I'm guessing you win 99% of those games. Okay, so it looks like it's closer to 96%, but close enough.
This looked like the same team that was tearing it up on offense back in late November, early December that couldn't be stopped.
A huge part of the reason for that tonight was D-Will. What was suppose to be a game-time decision ended up being an almost jump-ball decision. Jerry reported that he wasn't going to play, but just before tip-off we found out that he was going to give it a go.
Deron hit a jumper with 6 minutes to go in the first quarter to give the Jazz a 12-10 lead and they never trailed again after that. It didn't look like Deron's wrist bothered him at all until he took himself out of the game late in the game after it had been decided. After getting a couple of days rest, he played 42 minutes in this one and finished with 20 points and 9 assists.
He nailed two three to start the second half to help ensure there would be no third-quarter collapse. At the end of three, Deron had 20 & 4. And in the fourth he went into passing mode and dished out 5 assists.
Let's hope he gets another chance to play in Dallas next month.
Everyone played a fantastic game tonight.
C.J Miles is still stuck in a bit of a rut but nailed a couple of jumpers late in the game.
Andrei continued his all-around performance with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 4 assists. Couldn't be happier with AK's play right now. I'm back to the panic when he shoots jumpers but he's making up for it all around.
Ronnie B has been playing very well. He added another 5 assists tonight even with Deron back. Add that to his 2 steals, 9 points, and 7 boards, and you have an AK-type performance. Oh, and he had zero turnovers. That gives him 21 assists and just 2 TOs for the past three games.
Korver was the secret weapon that Sloan pulled out in the second half. It's nice to see him back and see him nailing down jumpers. I didn't think I'd ever see that day again. He was perfect from the field going 5-5 and knocked down both of his three-point attempts. Welcome back KK.
Wesley Matthews had another impressive outing in just 15 minute of play with 10 points on 5 shots including 2 threes. Ronnie P didn't get much PT, only 5 minutes. Okur and Boozer were okay and both had a couple of big buckets. They had 14 & 15 points respectively. Paul Millsap added 12 & 7 as well as 3 blocks.
So, enough box score recap, what are we to do with this team? As was mentioned in the game thread, hopefully this game doesn't convince the FO that all is well. It was a fine game for sure and one of the bigger wins of the season. But really, don't we have to see a stretch of 15-20 games like this to be sure that this team is living up to expectations?
Even after last year's great run in February and March, we saw them crash at the end of the season.
If anything, if the team starts clicking on wins 4 or 5 of their next games, isn't that the best time to make a move? Do something that will kick the team to a higher gear and hopefully keep them there? I'm just afraid of them playing well to the trading deadline and then coming apart.
Anyway, enough of that talk for tonight. Time to roll around in this win and enjoy it. And after the last debacle in Dallas, this one is a bit sweeter.
- Jazz vs Mavericks coverage
- Mavs Moneyball